Primitive Picasso in Paris

Picasso said he experienced a “revelation” while viewing African art at Paris’ Palais du Trocadéro ethnographic museum.  “A smell of mould and neglect caught me by the throat. I was so depressed that I would have chosen to leave immediately. But I forced myself to stay, to examine these masks, all these objects that people had created with a sacred, magical purpose, to serve as intermediaries between them and the unknown, hostile forces surrounding them, attempting in that way to overcome their fears by giving them colour and form. And then I understood what painting really meant. It’s not an aesthetic process; it’s a form of magic that interposes itself between us and the hostile universe, a means of seizing power by imposing a form on our terrors as well as on our desires. The day I understood that, I had found my path.” His discovery that day of African art resulted in what became his “African” style (1906-1909) and his iconic  “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” Continue reading “Primitive Picasso in Paris”

Make Love, Not Walls…

Diesel advertising campaign

With France’s presidential elections coming soon and the American political debacle, Parisians are talking non stop politics. And then along comes a very unusual Diesel advertising campaign saying “Make Love Not Walls.”  The video ad (with posters in the Paris metro) is a collaboration by photographer David LaChapelle and Diesel art director Nicola Formichetti. Continue reading “Make Love, Not Walls…”

Josef Koudelka at Pompidou

La Fabrique d'Exils
La Fabrique d’Exils

The Pompidou Center exhibits Josef Koudelka’s classic “Exiles” series. We haven’t seen his work in Paris since his big exhibition in 1988 at the Centre National du Photographie. Last year Koudelka donated to the Pompidou Center his entire “Exiles” series. The exhibition (free) includes these photos along with some interesting self-portraits taken by the photographer during his travels.  Continue reading “Josef Koudelka at Pompidou”

The Mistress of Paris

Take a walk on the wild side of Belle Epoque Paris with this biography of Emile-Louise Delabigne, known as countess Valtesse de la Bigne (1848-1910). who was a legendary French courtesan and demi-modaine. Her lovers included countless painters, writers and politicians, while her affairs with women caused a scandal in turn-of-the-century Paris. She was painted by Édouard Manet and inspired Émile Zola, who immortalized her in his scandalous novel “Nana.” Continue reading “The Mistress of Paris”

John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres

The Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood is world famous for its connection with artists, writers and intellectuals… and now shopping. For many years this part of Paris has been a stronghold of the “sans culottes,” a refuge to artists and a place for bohemians. Napoleon, Hemingway, and Sartre have all called it home. Descartes is buried there. The writer Oscar Wilde spent his last days in the quarter, at the small, run-down hotel called the Hotel d’Alsace at 13 rue des Beaux‑Arts. The legendary Ecole des Beaux-Arts—attended by such artists as Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas and Georges Seurat—is here. And the Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres is where students battled the police in May 1968. Continue reading “John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres”

Paris Scratch

Bart Plantenga describes his new book “Paris Scratch” as “not quite poems, not quite journal entries… meta-factual snapshots of everyday Paris life. With 365 entries or “snaps” this book is like a year of postcards sent from the bohemian Paris of twenty-five years ago. Indeed back in the day (1990 to be exact) Plantenga wrote some amazing stories for the print version of Parisvoice par exemple Continue reading “Paris Scratch”

Paris by it’s Writers

Much of Paris’ romantic patina comes from tales told by writers who have lived here. Balzac in Passy, Proust in the Monceau plain, Colette in the Palais-Royal, Hemingway in Montparnasse, Sartre and Beauvoir in Saint-Germain-des-Prés…  A new bilingual book “Paris by it’s Writers,” written by Francoise Besse (published by Parisgramme) describes the lives of twenty Paris legendary authors and how the city is woven into their novels. Continue reading “Paris by it’s Writers”

Pancakes in Paris

Meet Craig Carlson (October 27, 10am) the man behind the Paris American diner “Breakfast In America” at Shakespeare and Co. (October 27, 10am) when he talks about his new memoir “Pancakes in Paris.” The book is the story of Craig tackling what seemed like the impossible, from raising the money to fund his dream to tracking down international suppliers for “exotic” American ingredients… and even finding love along the way. His diner, Breakfast In America, is now a renowned tourist destination, and the story of how it came to be is just as delicious as the classic breakfast that tops its menu. Continue reading “Pancakes in Paris”

“Uprisings” at Jeu de Paume

Paris’ Jeu de Paume hosts a major exhibition this autumn titled “Soulevement,” which translates from French as “Uprisings” (to January 15, 2017). This multimedia exhibition—paintings, video, books, photography— curated by philosopher and art historian Georges Didi-Huberman, reflects on revolts, resistance and protest from Francisco de Goya’s “Los Caprichos (1799) to Maria Koukouta’s (2016) video loop showing immigrants crossing the Greek-Macedonia border. Continue reading ““Uprisings” at Jeu de Paume”